Case study: How Best to Motivate your Staff

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Case study: How Best to Motivate your Staff

Getting people to do their best work, even in trying circumstances, is one of managers’ most enduring and slippery challenges. Fortunately, new cross-disciplinary research in neuroscience, biology and psychology has allowed us to learn more about the human brain.

Our synopsis of the research suggests that people are guided by four basic emotional needs, or drives, that are the product of our common human heritage. These are: to acquire (obtain objects, including intangibles such as social status); to bond (form connections with individuals and groups); to comprehend (master the world around); and to defend (protect against external threats and promote justice). These drives underlie everything we do.

Managers attempting to boost motivation should take note. But what actions, precisely, can managers take to satisfy the four drives and, thereby, increase their employees’ motivation?

The research focused on four commonly measured workplace indicators: engagement, satisfaction, commitment and intention to quit. The survey of 385 employees of two global businesses showed that an organisation’s ability to meet the four fundamental drives explains, on average, about 60 per cent of employees’ variance on motivational indicators.

Although fulfilling all four basic emotional drives is essential for any company, the research suggests that each drive is best met by a distinct organisational lever. The drive to acquire is most easily satisfied by an organisation’s reward system: how efficiently it discriminates between good and poor performers, ties rewards to performance and gives the best people opportunities for advancement. The most effective way to fulfil the drive to bond is to create a culture that promotes teamwork, collaboration, openness and friendship. The drive to comprehend is best addressed by designing jobs that are meaningful, interesting and challenging. And finally fair, trustworthy and transparent processes for performance management and resource allocation help to met people’s drive to defend.

The research also revealed that organisations don’t have an absolute monopoly on employee motivation or on fulfilling people’s emotional drives. Employees’ perceptions of their immediate managers matter just as much. Employees in our study attributed as much importance to their boss’s meeting their four drives as to the organisational policies.

                                                                             N.Nohria, Harvard Business Review

Practicum 3.18

Translate the italicized parts of the text into Russian

Practicum 3.19

Study the hints on how to get a pay rise. Suggest arguments to support or challenge them

Ten Ways to Get a Pay Rise

Many people will agree that the size of a salary correlates directly with motivation in the workplace and one's quality of life outside it, writes David Morel, MD of Tiger Recruitment. Feeling as if you are valued and being paid your true worth is important for anyone in a job and therefore ensuring you earn the highest salary achievable is essential.

One of the easiest ways to earn more is move jobs. However, if you enjoy your job, then there may be a simpler solution, and these ten tips may help:

1. Make yourself indispensable – if you can get yourself into a position where you add significant value to your employer, they will pay through the nose to keep you.

2. Think of an outrageous money saving scheme for the company – insist that a percentage of the benefit derived by the company should be passed to you.

3. Get promoted – at the very least strive to take on more responsibility within your own role.

4. Get headhunted by another company – this will put you in an excellent bargaining position should you be interested in staying where you are.

5. Show commitment and loyalty – this can be handsomely rewarded.

6. Work longer hours and don’t be afraid to go “beyond the call of duty” e.g. working beyond the remits of your job spec.

7. Gain further qualifications.

8. Threaten to resign.

9. Outperform others in the same position as you within the company.

10. Bring in new business.

                                                                                                    Times Online, April 3, 2008

III. Communication Practice


Your on-site training team is to brief the management on the motivation of the staff. Start with the research into the current state of affairs in the company. Rely on ExpressingEmbarrassment / Confusionstrategy.

PROGRESS TEST 3 (part 1)

1) Review Expressing Embarrassment / Confusion communication strategy in the settings to follow:

Semi-formal setting

Your manager is stretching the team, poorly matches tasks to people and responds brusquely to questions. This approach results in a quagmire of errors, misdirected activity and utter frustration. Express your embarrassment to a colleague over a cup of coffee.

Formal setting

The Board is split over managerial style that should be adopted in the company. Some tend to believe that the company should adopt the authoritative managerial style, whereas others are positive that they should opt for the democratic style. After a heated debate both parties are expressing their embarrassment / confusion.

PROGRESS TEST 3 (part 2)

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